At the first mention of knitted ties most people squirm. They’re not all that hard to style I’ve learnt.
As far as I was concerned, upon my initial forays into sartorial wear, knitted ties were glorified socks. And I wasn’t alone. Somewhere right now, someone is probably receiving a knitted gift for their birthday. And I’m sure whatever it is, it’s probably going to go underappreciated and be accompanied by heartbreaking disappointment. But knitted ties are far more stylish than nostalgic memorabilia from grandma.
There are two types of knitted ties, soft knits and crunchy knits. Crunchy knit ties have a courser texture and are overall much stiffer than soft knits. The method of creating the crunchy knits is similar to that of gran’s flat knitting technique (a method for producing knitted fabrics in which the work is turned periodically) to make your “forever scratching myself” sweater. After the desired length is achieved the fabric is then put onto a mould and left to sit. Thereafter the fabric is sewn together by hand to create a back seam before being rested with some steam to give it shape.
On the other hand, the soft knitted tie requires a different method of construction that employs an incredibly hypnotic circular knitting machine consisting of a series of needles working in harmony. This machine can also be used to create other garments such as the well acquainted sock, thus explaining the tie’s resemblance to everyone’s favourite stocking stuffing.
Knitted ties contribute to a degage appearance and can act as a subtle alternative to a solid silk tie. The square end of the knitted tie adds a casual element to an outfit, much like wearing a pair of bright orange polka dot socks, which is part of its appeal to many knitted tie lovers. With a four-in-hand knot, the full texture of the knitted tie also imparts visual complexity to an outfit, and with the diversity of textures and patterns available, it’s easy to see why knitted ties have recently experienced an upsurge in popularity. Knits are also generally thinner than other ties, topping up at around 5 cm (2 inches) whereas the current standard width for silk foulards is 8cm, so they appear more relaxed and less demanding to the eye.
Knitted ties can easily be worn to casualise a suit as well as with suit separates or sports coats especially when a solid foulard silk tie would be inconsistent with an aesthetic that aims for the likes of Defqon.
In my case, falling wrath to Melbourne’s hipster bike riding propaganda, I’ve sported a knitted tie with a casual suit. To clarify, a casual suit refers to a suit that can be worn outside the realms of the corporate environment (don’t worry I haven’t completely lost the plot, but then again I was walking in front of Flinders Station in the middle of the busiest crossroad in Melbourne – moving on). In this instance the laidback appearance of the knitted tie lends itself to making the outfit seem more nonchalant while the gold of my neckwear makes an attempt at harmony by bringing out the overcheck pattern running through my suit. Keeping the casual theme consistent I’ve also opted for a pair of made to measure tassel loafers from Kazuna which are far more appropriate and far less severe than oxfords or brogues. Sneakers, like those offered by my favourite Melbourne designer Christian Kimber, can also help create a look that is as laid back as it is kicked back.
If you’re in the market for a knit tie, some of the most delicious knits are made by the legendary Drake’s of London. The crunchiness of the material is enough to make me scream – appropriate considering the French call it le cri de la soie, or ‘the cry of the silk’. Sexy. If you get a chance duck into your nearest Drake’s stockist and feel them. I promise you it’s like nothing you’ve felt before, unless you’ve touched a hipster’s beard. Other options include local brands like M.J. Bale who offer great knit ties in interesting seasonal colours or otherwise drop into Henry Bucks and peruse their eclectic selection.
Just remember however that being casual doesn’t mean being lazy. Mid-sems are on their way. So I’m off!
*BingBong* This is your captain speaking we will be experiencing some procrastination. Please fasten your seatbelts.
Gold Spider Knitted Tie — Zimma Tailors
Blue Check Suit — M.J. Bale
Bamboo Aqua/Silver Pocket Square — Zimma Tailors
White Oxford Shirt — M.J. Bale
Made to Measure Tassel Loafers — Kazuna
Jaywalking Fines — City of Melbourne
(Photos by: Tanjim Islam)